Another My Favourite City for you to peruse this month! All the bloggers and writers I adore tell me all about their favourite city: why they love it, special memories from their time there, and all the secrets they’re willing to spill. This month I spoke to Production Manager and fellow travel-lover, Ben Eddie.
MY FAVOURITE CITY
TCL: Hi Ben, thank you so much for being a part of this new series. So tell me – what kind of traveller would you describe yourself as?
Ben: An intrepid space traveller confined to Earth until technology allows. Luckily there is much to see and do down here and I’m very patient, a positive trait for all aspiring wanderers.
That’s one heck of a description! A novel in the making I think. Let’s get straight to it; tell me your favourite city
In 2015 it has to be Paris. I spent a long weekend there in October with my girlfriend, and given recent events it’s only right to fly the flag for our Parisian brothers and sisters. It’s a vibrant and diverse city and I look forward to the next visit!
Paris is most definitely the city of love. What do you love the most about it?
It’s easy to slip into the rhythm of Paris. Like comfy boots, I feel at home in Western Europe, enjoying the café culture and people watching. Just another espresso drinking, slim-cigarette smoking European making his way in the world; a Regular Jean, if you will!
Tell me an adventure you had there
We used Airbnb to secure accommodation for the first time and couldn’t rate it highly enough. What better way to enjoy the city than being in a local home? Staying in a cool, modern apartment in the Oberkampf area we were able to find local supermarkets, vintage stores, bars, and patisseries on the recommendation of our host. The whole trip felt more personal and I’m all for the sharing economy. Thanks Sylvie!
What’s your favourite thing to do in Paris?
It’s a worthwhile pursuit to eat and drink your way around the world, and Paris is a great place to seriously indulge this pastime. We discovered a small wine shop called Les Babines that served delicious plates of meat, cheese, and pickles along with their selection of wines and beers.
I got talking to a snacking biker, as we were both KTM motorcycle owners and he was keen to show pictures of a recent track day, his was parked up out front. All fairly normal but he consumed the better part of a bottle of red for himself before bidding us farewell and hopping on his bike! I also stumbled upon The Grilled Cheese Factory next to Place de la Bastille. It features heavily in my top three sandwiches of all time.
(Ed note: Next time I’m in Paris, I’m definitely seeking this grilled cheese place out!)
The main thing I ate in Paris was plenty of pain au chocolat. What was your favourite thing to eat and drink there?
Sharing an affordable but awesome seafood platter and carafe of wine or two at L’ilot (4 Rue de la Corderie, 75003) then strolling to Andy Wahloo (69 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003) to enjoy the best Old Fashioned this side of the Seine. Perfect.
Did you find out an interesting fact about this city?
Frogs legs, stereotypically seen as a French staple, feature predominantly on menus in tourist spots such as Montmarte rather than on local plates. In fact, these days you are more likely to see these amphibian blighters dished out in Vietnam with its colonial past and favourable frog flourishing climes. Excellent stir fired with fish sauce and lemongrass!
What top 3 things would you recommend to do in Paris?
1. WATCH OUT FOR SPACE INVADERS! Look skyward as you move around the city for street artist Invader’s cracking retro pixel art. A treat for the keen-eyed and gives a degree of purpose to aimless wandering
2. FIND THE LIZARD KING. Explore the wonderfully gothic, labyrinthine Père Lachaise Cemetery armed only with morbid fascination and map. Seek out the final resting place of the self proclaimed Lizard King, Jim Morrison, frontman of The Doors. The plot is tricky to locate and has been blocked off with barrier, in no small part due to amorous fans having sex and / or using drugs on his grave. Jim was right “People are Strange”
3. EAT FREELY. There are a few bars in Paris where, if your timing’s right, you can eat for free. Providing you are getting the drinks in. Tribal Café, 3 cour des Petites Écuries, 75010 dish out complimentary moules-frites Wednesday and Thursday at around 9pm. Great way to start an evening of late night debauchery. Enjoy, and good luck finding the others!
What’s the first city you remember visiting?
Berlin. My father was a serving soldier in the British Army and we moved every couple of years. Living in Germany in the 80s and 90s was an experience and Berlin is around the age I could appreciate life there as unique to the UK. I’ve returned a number of times since and there really is nowhere like it. Handball (Die Füchse!) is huge in a way you could not comprehend as a Brit, and Germans have taken fast food (Schnellimbiß) to another level. Ich bin ein Berliner.
What do city breaks mean to you?
Life gets increasingly hectic as the years advance. It takes you over if you’re not careful. A city break provides shared experiences and positive memories, the basis of a happy life! You can head off for a long weekend and pack in loads of fun activities with little or no planning. Eat new food, get lost in unfamiliar places, widen your horizons, and create new stories with your nearest and dearest.
What advice would you give people wanting to go on a city break?
A change is as good as a rest. The Costa del Sol isn’t going anywhere, but thankfully you can! See it as a recce for a longer break to a new destination, testing the proverbial waters. Also, get your mobile provider to sort your data connection for use outside the UK. Citymapper app is great for scooting around and covers many destinations.
QUICK FIRE ROUND!
Balcony or beach? Beach, being one-third fish I’m happiest near water.
Luxury or budget? Budget. It’s not a dirty word and doesn’t have to mean low quality either. No need for towel art. More dollar for fun times and I’m generally not comfortable being waited on. It’s a bit odd.
Culture or adventure? Adventure is discovery of the unknown. Take healthy risks and get involved. Support local guides!
Local lingo or mother tongue? Make an effort if you can and it interests you…no need for Spanglish.
Metro or walk? My girlfriend may disagree here but discovering Paris on foot was a highlight for me. Compromise would be walk there and take Metro back. Keep the peace.
Sunshine or snow? I’m a sunshine kid. It lifts the mood and who wouldn’t favour waking up to blue skies and warming rays? Slip! Slop! Slap!
Thank you so much Ben for sharing your favourite things about Paris, France – I think there’s a career in travel writing there for you! You can see more of his adventures over at @BenEddieUK – give him a follow!
Want to take part and tell me all about your favourite city? Pop me an email at email@example.com and I’ll whizz back the questions.